What Each of Us Wants

Painting by Ray Dirks

Ben Sprunger was MEDA’s president from 1994 to 2002. The reflection below is from his upcoming memoir, reprinted with permission. The accompanying artwork is a Ray Dirks painting.

I discovered MEDA’s impact through an African woman who had the brightest eyes, a wonderful face with deep character creases and a missing tooth. She was proud of her work and her new status as a chicken grower. “How has your life changed since the MEDA loans?” I inquired. With a big smile she said, “The roof doesn’t leak. The house is clean and safe with a new concrete floor and a new door.”

“In what other ways has your life changed?” I asked. “The children don’t get as sick as often. With more income we eat a wider range of foods and our diet is healthier. She said with pride.” Not wanting to stop I persisted. “What else has changed?” “Her eyes glistened as she told me she could now pay for school uniforms, books and tuition so her children could attend school.”

I dared to ask one more time: “What other changes have you experienced?” As she stood straight and tall, with a big smile and wrinkles around the eyes she said, “I can now contribute to our church.” I realized she was experiencing opportunity and improved well-being.

Exactly what each of us want — a safe and secure home; food so our family can be healthy; school so our children will have better opportunities; and the ability to contribute to our church and community.

What else can be said?

— Ben Sprunger

For the needy shall not always be forgotten, and the hope of the poor shall not perish.

— Psalm 9:18 NKJV

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